Promoting Safety and Economic Operation through
Succession and Workforce Management
Christine M. Fahnestock
A single site, PWR nuclear station
implemented a strategy-based Succession and Workforce Management process to
advance their strategic business plan, which emphasized safety and economic
operation. The purpose of the Succession and Workforce Management work was to:
Link selection decisions, for key leadership
positions, directly to the station’s business plan, and the future strategic
Assess and improve leadership
Retain business-critical and high potential talent,
Refine the parameters for planning a voluntary workforce reduction
The work was part of an
overall business strategy, which, for this station, included preparation for
being purchased at auction.
Description of actual
The senior leadership
team adopted a Succession and Workforce Management model, tailored for their
specific strategic circumstances. The work was driven by the senior management
team, encouraged by the station’s joint owners, and facilitated by Fahnestock &
Associates, an executive consulting firm that specializes in succession and
workforce planning. The foundation of the work was established by identifying
and building consensus about the station’s future strategic business scenario(s).
The business scenario(s) were formulated by interviewing and cross-referencing
information from the key business strategists on the senior management team; a
step called organization analysis. All Succession and Workforce Management
process steps would be based on this organizational information.
Next, a determination was
made as to where the highest return for talent investment could be realized for
the station. The Succession and Workforce Management process focused on the
areas yielding the highest return on investment first. A thorough demographic
analysis of the station workforce was conducted to identify current and future
talent and manpower gaps. The demographic
analysis served as a data and workforce issue discovery process for the senior
team. The data ultimately created a commonly shared, manpower management needs
business-critical positions were identified by senior management that
were considered to be “…essential for effective operation,…and without which the
safe and efficient operation of the business would be critically diminished.”
Criteria were also determined to assess back-up bench-strength for the 20+
positions. Back-up talent was reviewed in several senior management team
sessions. As a result, specific developmental moves, development programs and
coaching needs were identified to close talent gaps. These actions, and their
A retention risk assessment
of identified high potential and business-critical individuals was
conducted. Additionally, the executives
decided what message they wanted to communicate to high potential individuals,
and how they would go about this communication uniformly, in each of their
The process also included
identifying the few critical, emerging leadership
performance competencies to be used in assessing internal/external executive
candidates, based on the station’s future business scenario(s).
The workforce demographic analysis
identified skill and manpower gaps, which were factored into planning a
voluntary workforce reduction program, organizational restructuring, incentives
and recruiting plans.
Development actions were
implemented to close talent gaps for back-up candidates (for the 20+
business-critical positions), and to strengthen incumbents, where needed.
Emergency back-up candidates were
identified for the positions. Also noted, were longer-term, internal candidates
and/or where external candidates would be sought.
“risk-management” actions and accountabilities were assigned to senior team
members, in order to control the loss of high potential individuals. This was
especially critical in the pre-auction period.
*The identified strategic, emerging
performance competencies were critical when an executive search and selection
process was required to fill a senior leadership
position, at a point midway in the implementation of the workforce planning
*This occurrence perhaps most visibly demonstrated
the relevance and value of the Succession and Workforce Management process. The
(internal and external) candidates participated in an executive assessment and
selection regimen based on the strategic leadership
factors identified in the Succession and Workforce Management process, as
having significant leadership impact
on safety and economic operation. The
assessment of the factors, determined in the Success and Workforce Management
as having significant leadership
impact on safety and economic operation, served as input into the replacement
decision for the senior leadership position.
information about developing high potential talent, please contact
Fahnestock & Associates.
Principal, at (860) 673-0100, or e-mail:
[ Home ] [ Up ] [ Contents ]
Send mail to
with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2001 - 2012
Fahnestock & Associates LLC
October 26, 2012